Thursday, November 29, 2007


Ms. Big

Previously on Project Runway: Heidi made the designers run. Simone was unfinished. Elisa was weird. Rami won. Simone got the boot.

Rami regrets the departue of Simone; he thinks she had more of a clue than Elisa. Who has decided to use the clues the judges gave her in their feedback, so good for her. And off to Parsons, where it's the first model auction of the season. Results:

The challenge: create an outfit for a "pop culture and fashion icon." Much guessing ensues. Tim gathers the designers around and introduces: Sarah Jessica Parker. And the crowd goes wild. Chris starts crying, because Sex and the City inspired him to move to New York. The designers will create a two-piece outfit for the fall/winter collection of her Bitten line. Since it's all about affordability, the retail cost is $40. Which means they get $15 for materials. They'll all pitch, and SJP will pick seven team leaders. So it's a team challenge, just in case the "two-piece outfit" clue didn't tip you off.

Sketching. Pitching. Chris is terribly nervous. Elisa talks about polymorphism. Kevin runs away without shaking SJP's hand. Carmen makes sure SJP gets her name. Time to choose. SJP praises everyone but chooses: Elisa, Kit, Victorya, Marion, Ricky, Christian and Rami. SJP might sell the winning design as part of her selection, if it doesn't suck. She leaves. Now it's back to the schoolyard to pick teams.

Shopping at Mood. Going for the cheap. Elisa lets Sweet P choose colors. Sweet P warns her to finish her edges, or the judges will put her in the "unfinished" box. They have until midnight to finish. Workety work. Elisa uses spit to mark her fabric as she holds it up to Sweet P, who is just flummoxed by this unsanitary habit. Although she doesn't protest unfolding the fabric on the floor, so I guess it's only bodily fluids that she's worried about.

Tim wanders through. He's worried about the complexity of Marion's skirt. Christian shrugs off Tim's concerns that it's too retro. Victorya and Kevin are in good shape. Elisa wants to do a hand-rolled finish, but Tim thinks she's nuts, given the time constraints. Elisa decides to listen to Tim and Sweet P. Tim leaves. Frantic sewing ensues.

Morning. Back to work. Sweet P fusses some more, but turns a corner and gets optimistic. Marion and Steven are still having skirt issues. Victorya requests a "stomp walk" from Jacqueline. Steven is still working on the skirt as Tim summons them to the runway. Show time!

Elisa/Sweet P, Victorya/Kevin, Marion/Steven and Christian/Carmen have to face the judges. The remaining teams are safe. Heidi threatens to boot "one or more" designers. SJP is happy that Victorya turned a simple sketch into something interesting and it fits well with the collection. Marion's cape stretched out too much and it lost the right proportions. Heidi thinks it looks dirty. SJP likes the movement of Elisa's dress and asks about the partnership. Sweet P brings up the mismatch of styles. Elisa uses spitmarking as an example, which freaks out the judges. Elisa takes the teasing well. Christian is sure his fitted jacket would suit all figure types, despite the judges' doubts. SJP thinks it's more severe than the sketch; it's too short and tight. Heidi wants to know who would go if they lost. Carmen gets all dramatic about having to give up Christian -- when did they become BFFs? -- but he totally steps up. Marion is also willing to take the hit. Steven doesn't want to leave it all hanging on Marion, but isn't volunteering to go himself.

The judges deliberate. The designers return. SJP announces the winner: Victorya. And the outfit will be sold with the line. Elisa and Sweet P are safe. Steven is safe. Carmen is safe. And -- Christian is safe, so Marion gets the boot. I can't say I'm surprised -- I haven't been wowed by him yet, while Christian knows how to put an outfit together. Still, it was nice to see Christian get a spanking. Not that it will make an impression. No doubt we'll start the next episode with him whining about how the judges just don't get his vision.

I was kind of hoping Elisa would get the underdog win -- this has to be a difficult situation for her -- but I suspect this really wound up being a team effort, while Victorya's design was much more the work of a single person. Not that Kevin is chopped liver, but he was really a hired hand for this one. Ricky managed to redeem himself and Kit's outfit was cute. Rami's was kind of disappointing, but I'll chalk that up to stiff fabric and a stiff model. Overall, another good showing by almost everyone.



Who Are You

Let's meet the latest crop of aspiring fashion designers:

The roomies are: Chris, Rami, Christian, Ricky; Sweet P, Carmen, Jillian, Kit; Kevin, Jack, Steve, Marion; Elisa, Simone, Victorya.

The designers traipse over to Bryant Park to drink some champagne, and then Heidi and Tim show up to put them to work. I love how Heidi chirpily cracks the whip. I wonder if she does that with her kids: "Are you have a good time playing with your toys? Well, too bad. It's nap time now." It's the usual "express your identity as a designer" challenge. They get $50,000 in fabrics donated by Mood, arrayed in three tents across the park. Heidi sets them racing across the park to grab their selections; Elisa pauses long enough to give her a sunflower for her birthday. There is much grabbing. Elisa decides to "imbue" one of her fabrics with grass stains; she likes to "feed the fabrics" with organic sustenance. This gives us our first opportunity for "That Elisa sure is weird" comments.

Parsons. The designers have until 1 am to work. Tim gives them their inaugural "Make it work." And go! Workety work work. Elisa is wacky some more. Tim comes through for his critiques. Rami is looking good. Tim points out that Christian matched up his fabric along the seam, but not at the sleeves, which is not what Christian wants to hear. Simone has a lot of work. Elisa's train thing has sort of worked when she tried it in the past. Tim goes away. Elisa decides she's done and takes a nap. Workety work. Time's up.

Morning. Crunch time. Tim rallies the troops. Steven summarizes, "It's freak-out time here, ladies and gentlemen." Models arrive. Fittings. Hair. Makeup. Show time! Guest judge is Monique Lhullier.

Overall, a good first showing. Not a lot of head-scratchers among the outfits. The models were more problematic -- a couple were downright clunky and several were just okay. We'll see if they improve over time.

The judges confer. Chris, Kevin, Sweet P, Jillian, Jack, Marion, Steven, Carmen and Kit are all safe. This leaves Rami, Victorya, Simone, Christian, Elisa and Ricky. Christian has good shapes and some nice details. Simone has construction problems and her pieces didn't go together. Rami has good construction, although Michael is not thrilled with the flower. Ricky played it safe. Victorya's flower doesn't bother the judges. Elisa puzzles the judges with her artsy talk and her unwieldy train.

The judges deliberate some more. Victorya was a little safe but had charm. Christain had detail and innovation. Rami was skillful and expressive. Ricky was safe but well-made; Elisa was weird but the basic construction was excellent; Simone was unfinished and boring. Results: Victorya is safe. Rami wins. Christian is safe. Ricky is safe. And -- Simone is out, so Elisa is safe. Yay! Simone kind of bored me but Elisa is fun.

I would rather have seen Marion in the bottom three than Ricky -- the judges need to stop accepting "ugly" as a point of view. And I don't get the love for Victorya's giant flower. I like Chris's dress better, if we're going to praise oversized embellishments. I was hoping Rami would win, because his draping is just so elegant and because Christian would be insufferable if he took the first blue ribbon. So that worked out well. As for the bottom two, Elisa's dress was fundamentally beautiful and just needed to lose the train, while Simone's dress was ordinary where it wasn't off-putting, so I agree with the judges on both decisions.

This reminds me of the latest season of Top Chef, with contestants cast more for talent than character. By the end of the season, people were practically contorting themselves to come up with a "villain" because no one was really that bad. They were annoying to various degrees, but they weren't jerks. No one in this crowd seems particularly provocative. So far, the best contender for the "villain" mantle is Christian, and he's just a twerp.


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